Sunday, June 26, 2011

Specimens: Week Three

This week I tackled some of the more complicated prints from Specimens. I started the week with the five color passage from Alice in Wonderland, moved on to the six color trompe l'oeil inspired by Arthur Rimbaud, and finished with the comparatively simple four color Les Jeux Sont Faits. The Arthur Rimbaud page is also printed in a series of state proofs that accompany the deluxe copies. As I learned in Æthelwold Etc., the key to layered printing like that in the Rimbaud quote is beginning with a bright yellow base and then layering successive pencil scumbles on top of it. The yellow under-painting, as it were, prevents the image form getting muddy and helps retain luminosity in the print. For both the Alice and Rimbaud pages the drawings are based on three dimensional models that I fabricated, photographed,  and then drew. Whereas the Alice image was developed from intensive original sketching, the Rimbaud image is inspired by the trompe l'oeil painting on the back of Jan Gossart's Norfolk Triptych (ca. 1525-1530).

Also this week, Micah Currier at the Dale Guild Type Foundry completed the first four of six matrices for an ornament font I have designed that is loosely based on the calligraphic flourishes of Joaquim Jozé Ventura da Silva. The patterned paper used on the standard copy of Specimens will be printed from the ornaments which will also appear elsewhere in the book. After Specimens is published, the Dale Guild will release the ornament pack for sale.

Next week, Nancy and I will printing only one page of Specimens, a passage from Flaubert's Sentimental Education that we will be printing inaglio from a solar etching plate. A relief proof is pictured below. 

Text: Jean-Paul Sartre; Type: a modified version of Saturn

Text: Arthur Rimbaud; Type: Gotica Italica

Text: Lewis Carroll; Type: Ventura Shaded and Ventura Italic

Four matrices for Lisbon Ornaments

Preparing the wet-pack for printing the Flaubert etching
Text: Gustav Flaubert; Type: Ventura flourished
This is a relief proof of a plate that will be printed intaglio, ie. the type will be positive rather than negative in the final version.